US wants to denuclearize North Korea before Trump's first term ends: Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States wants to see North Korea taking concrete steps toward denuclearization before the end of President Donald Trump's first term.
Speaking to reporters in South Korea on Wednesday, Pompeo said that the Trump administration wants quick progress on North Korea's promise to end its nuclear weapons program.
“We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in, what was it, the next two and a half years,” Pompeo said. “We’re hopeful we can get it done. There’s a lot of work left to do."
He added that the two countries have yet to hammer out the specifics of the plan but claimed that understanding between them was inked into the agreement signed by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday in Singapore.
“I suppose we could argue semantics, but let me assure you it’s in the document,” Pompeo told reporters. “I am confident that they understand what we’re prepared to do, the handful of things that we’re likely not prepared to do.”
“I am equally confident that they understand there will be in-depth verification," he added.
Following Tuesday’s summit, Trump and Kim signed a document described by the American leader as important and comprehensive.
The document says the US and North Korea “commit to establish [sic] new... relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity."
North Korea also reaffirmed its commitment to working “towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a broad wording that could mean phased denuclearization in return for a number of potential American commitments along the way.
During the news conference on Wednesday, Pompeo censured a journalist who asked why the "complete" and "verifiable" denuclearization of North Korea was not included in the document.
“I find that question insulting and ridiculous and frankly ludicrous. I just have to be honest with you, it’s a game, it’s a game, and one ought not play games with serious matters like this," he said.